An Australian-first tunnelling training centre in Melbourne will train thousands of local workers to deliver the Andrews Labor Government’s record pipeline of transport projects – including the massive Suburban Rail Loop.
The new $16M Victorian Tunnelling Centre will be built at Holmesglen Institute’s Chadstone campus to train and skill local workers in underground construction and tunnelling. Modelled on the successful Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy established as part of London’s Crossrail, the facility will open next year.
It will include a replica tunnel with a full-height entrance, three multi-purpose engineering workrooms and training facilities including tunnel shaft and concrete lining spray simulators, as well as virtual reality experiences.
Separately, Herrenknecht has announced it will establish a Melbourne office and maintenance facility and begin investigations to recycle these massive pieces of machinery locally, for deployment on new projects in Victoria’s infrastructure pipeline. Herrenknecht is currently custom building the six TBMs needed to build the West Gate Tunnel and Metro Tunnel projects.
The Labor Government is delivering a pipeline of major tunnelling projects stretching over more than a decade, and this new tunnelling workforce will create local jobs and make Victoria a world-leading tunnelling hub.
Just four years ago, no tunnels were being built in Melbourne. Now, through investment, tunnelling on the Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel projects will soon get underway, and by the time those projects are finished work will have started on North East Link, Melbourne Airport Rail Link and the Suburban Rail Loop.
More than 15 TBMs will be used to build these vital projects that will deliver more trains to and from the suburbs, connect the regions and ease congestion on the state’s busy roads. Ten of these machines are expected be needed to build the Suburban Rail Loop alone.
Holmesglen Institute will offer both existing and new courses at the tunnelling centre, including Certificate and Diploma qualifications as well as safety-based training for working underground. By 2021, it is estimated up to 5,000 students will participate in training courses at the centre each year.
This will support the thousands of apprentices, trainees and cadets who will deliver Victoria’s pipeline of infrastructure projects, completing at least 10 per cent of work hours under the Major Projects Skills Guarantee.
Premier Daniel Andrews said, “This is the biggest-ever pipeline of transport projects in Victoria’s history. We’re not only creating thousands of jobs as we deliver these vital projects – we’re making sure local workers have the skills they need to build them.”
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said, “The Victorian Tunnelling Centre will train and upskill thousands of local workers, so they can play their part in building the rail and road projects people need.”